Two New Road Safety Measures
Two new road safety measures were recently implemented on Philippines roads.
1. The Republic Act No. 10913 known as the Anti-Distracted Driving Act came into effect on May 18 2017.
The Act defines distracted driving as the driver’s use of gadgets such as mobile phones, electronic entertainment and computing devices while the vehicle is moving or stopped at a red light an intersection.
- Public vehicles including jeepneys, buses, vans, cabs, motorcycle cab, and habble habble.
- Private vehicles including any of the above used privately, plus cars, SUV, trucks, and prime movers.
- Wheeled agricultural machinery including tractors, harvesters, carts etc.>/li>
- Construction equipment including graders, bulldozers, excavators, roadrollers, cranes etc.
- Any Other forms of transportation, human-powered or pulled by an animal, operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets, such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, habal-habal, kuliglig, wagons, carriages and carts.
You may not:
- Make or receive calls on any mobile device including phones tablets or walkie talkies.
- compile, send, or read texts of any kind.
- Play games on any device or gadget.
- Watch movies on dvd’s or streaming.
- Use a calculator
- Read e-books
- Surfing or browsing the internet.
A Person may be exempt from the prohibitions under the following circumstance or circumstances:
When using devices to make or take emergency calls to authorities in case of:
- Bomb or terrorist threat
- Fire or explosion
- Instances needing immediate medical attention.
- If personal safety and security is compromised.
- Use of hands-free function and applications as long as gadgets do not interfere with the driver’s line of sight.
- Use of navigational apps that should be set to the preferred destination before the driver’s departure.
Such gadgets should be installed in parts of a vehicle that will not obstruct the driver’s view.
The LTO, as the lead implementing agency, can deputize enforcers of the MMDA, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group.
For inner secondary streets, traffic enforcers of local governments LGU will be authorized to carry out arrests.
Victor Nuñez, liaison officer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said violators could be cited through the no-contact apprehension policy or screen grabs of traffic cameras.
- P5,000 fine on first offense.
- P10,000 fine on second offense.
- P15,000 fine with three month suspension of driver’s license on third offense.
- P20,000 and revocation of driver’s license for violations beyond third offense.
As with every new law in any country, there are already some aspects that are contentious and interpretation may be required including returning to lawmakers for amendments.
- Listening to music is forbidden on earphones, but not the listening to eBooks.
- The playing of movies and music out of the line of sight of the driver, yet music by earphone is forbidden.
2. The Republic Act 10666, otherwise known as Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive a motorcycle with a child on board on public roads where:
- There is heavy volume of vehicles
- There is a high density of fast moving vehicles.
- Where a speed limit of more than 50 kilometers per hour (KPH) is imposed.
- Any child who is a passenger on a motorcycle in whatever circumstances, must also wear a standard protective helmet referred to under Republic Act No. 10054, otherwise known as the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.
- A child can ride a motorcycle if he/she can comfortably reach his/her feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle.
- A child is also exempted if his/her arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle driver.
- What is heavy volume of traffic.
- What is a high density of fast moving vehicles
- “Who is going to police it?”
I am sure that we will get the usual cynical responses from many that say:
- While it is true that the Philippines does not have the staffing infrastructure to provide the coverage found in many western countries, but my experience is that the use of other national and local resources is well on the way to ameliorating this.
- While coverage may not be as intense, you should be aware that if you are involved in an accident involving major damage injury or death, then the investigative team will use all their resources, which are quite considerable to determine if the law has been broken. Which is quite a shock to some.
- My comment to those who ask this question is usually this. Surely as responsible visitors, residents and citizens the first responsibility to police the law is ours. Our adherence is the best advertisement of our support for road safety initiatives.
- Both of these laws are genuine attempts to reduce road accidents, and are in line with the laws we follow in ouyr countries of origin. In fact the Philippines law may be far more tolerant.
- If you are worried about being scammed, get a taxi dash cam which records both outside and inside the vehicle. Thus you can record both the actions of enforcers and your own.
So there you have it two new road safety measures implemented in one week, well done Philippines.